The Great plague
In 1665 the Great plague struck London killing a quarter of the population.
1665 had a very hot summer and there was a lot of poverty about. The only way people could get rid of their rubbish was by throwing it into the streets. London was filthy because of this. These conditions were perfect for rats to breed. Many people thought that cats and dogs carried the diseases but this was not true. The disease was carried by fleas on the bodies of rats.
The poorest parts of London were first to be struck by the disease. Cramped living condtions meant that the disease spread like wildfire.
Symptoms of the disease were circular blotches on the skin and these could develop into big sas full of pus particuarly on the groin area and in the airpits and sneezing fits were the last symptoms and usually this was followed by a quick death.
The richer people fled London for their country homes in order to escape the disease.
The Great plague/the great fire of London
Many cats and dogs were killed in a bid to stop the disease.
The only thing that could stop the plague was the Great fire of London.
After a long hot summer another disaster struck London. In 1666 on the early morning of September 2nd a fire broke out.
Houses and buildings were built of wood and were built closely together so the fire spread very quickly.
Home owners refused to allow their houses to be pulled down to create gaps so the fire could not spread.
Many buildings were blown up with gun powder.
The fire was difficult to get under control because the high winds were fanning the flames. After two days the winds finally dropped and the fire was under control.
The fire managed to stop the Great plague as a result